Outdoor Dining on a Chilly Day

How do you keep eating outdoors once winter arrives? There are ways.

We won't lie: Southern California has cred. So much cred, in so many diverse areas, that we practically need to hire a cred-keeper -- that's like a score-keeper -- to keep track of all the things we do well.

And something we have, courtesy of location and climate, that other places mostly lack, is a pretty nice winter. We know, we know, those epic rains arrive around February and it isn't uncommon to see a pair of mittens here and there (very often worn by relocated New Yorkers who can't give up their mittenry).

Pair our semi-mild winter with our devotion to dining out and you have a city that boasts a plethora of patios that stay open all year long. Sure, many patrons opt to head inside to eat when December arrives, but you have tried-and-true SoCalers that won't give up their fresh air.

Here are a few spots keeping the heat lamps running all through the chillier months:

Ulysses Voyage: A bit of keep-out-the-chill plastic keep this Farmers Market Greek favorite toasty, but we like it for three reasons in particular. One? Excellent saganaki. Two? You're right next to the Farmers Market bell tower, so you can hear the times (and carols in December). And three? You're in a great spot for Grove-based people-watching.

Cecconi's West Hollywood: This patio's a big'n, and pretty good for star-watching, too. That's not why you should go, though; go for pasta dishes such as Pappardelle with Oxtail. Eating outdoors often translates to eating light, but hearty Italian fare makes the better complement in winter.

Golden Road Brewing: Outdoor games and movies are a way of life at this San Fernando Road tavern (games you play, we should say). The brewhouse keeps its lawn open all winter long, with the help of lamps and retractable screens. So it turns out that sipping a craft beer outside isn't just a summer pleasure, at least not SoCal.

We do have loads of cred around these parts, indeed.

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